Lions release receiver Titus Young

You can’t help someone if they don’t want to be helped.

Titus Young isn’t there yet — mentally or emotionally — and so the Detroit Lions decided it was time to part ways with the disgruntled 23-year-old receiver.

The Lions announced Monday — the first day that NFL teams can start to dump players who are signed for the 2013 season — that they have released Young, a second-round draft pick out of Boise State in 2011.

Young’s maturity could catch up with his talent someday, but that doesn’t appear to be any time soon.

From the Lions’ perspective, it was best to put an end to all of the distractions.

It’s really difficult to understand Young’s attitude. How could he not learn to act like a professional from watching firsthand the work ethic and class displayed day in and day out by a superstar teammate like Calvin Johnson?

You have to assume, under the circumstances, that the Lions have sought help for Young in many other forms, including professionally.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, it appears there are some significant mental/emotional issues that are so deep that Young seems to be unreachable by anyone at this stage in his life.

Not even becoming a father a few months ago has changed his way of thinking, at least not yet.

The Lions gave Young plenty of chances to get his act together. He was banned from the team three times in less than a year.

It all started, at least publicly, after Young sucker-punched teammate Louis Delmas during an offseason workout last May.

Young appeared to be finding himself with a career-best performance in late October against Seattle — nine catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns in a Detroit victory — but three weeks later, he was up to his old antics again.

Young got sent home for a week after he intentionally lined up in the wrong spot during a game against Green Bay because he wanted the ball to be thrown to him instead of someone else.

After returning to the team, Young’s insubordination continued to the point that he didn’t even play in the final six games. The Lions eventually placed him on the injured list because he had been hampered by tendinitis in his knee, but the real reason was that he’d become too much of a drama queen for every else in the locker room.

General manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz had publicly left the door open for Young to return next season — perhaps because they didn’t want to reduce his trade value any further — but some recent tweets made Monday’s outcome seemingly inevitable.

Here are two examples of Young using Twitter to help put an end to his days in Detroit:

”… if ya’ll going to cut me let me go. I’m tired of the threats.”

”… I never been selfish but if I’m not going to get the football, i don’t want to play anymore.”

Ideally, the Lions would have preferred to wait and trade Young to get something in return, but his value has dropped so much because of the nonsense that no other team was apparently going to give anything up for him.

In retrospect, drafting Young was a mistake from the start. There were red flags with him going back to his college days.

Young was suspended for much of his sophomore year at Boise State after getting into a fight with a teammate. He dropped in the draft because other teams considered him a risk based on the character flaws.

Mayhew, wanting another playmaker opposite Johnson, took a chance and it backfired.

The Lions actually were kind to Young by releasing him now, giving him time to regroup and to try to find a new team.

For the Lions, it’s addition by subtraction.

Receiver Nate Burleson is expected to return from a broken leg. Ryan Broyles hopes to be back by the season opener following knee surgery for another torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The Lions probably will draft a receiver — don’t they always? — or they could sign a free agent or make a trade to replace Young. Anything will be an upgrade after what they went through this past year with him.

Young, who is 5-foot-11, 174 pounds, ended up with 81 receptions for 990 yards and 10 touchdowns in 26 games over the last two seasons.

Hopefully, he’ll seek the help that’s needed to fix whatever has led to all of this self-destructive behavior. Not just to salvage his football career, but to have a happy life.

He still could become a good NFL player, just not until he learns how to be a better teammate first.

And that’s not going to happen as long as these mental and emotional problems keep coming to the surface so often.